Taxis and Transport in Vietnam especially Saigon can be a daunting experience, as there is a large number of fake taxis on the streets as well as some of the real ones just aren’t up to any decent standard.
The good news is that there are several Saigon Ho Chi Minh City Taxi companies that do make the grade, both in terms of modern vehicles as well good drivers.
The good companies that make the grade include:
Taxi Vinasun – After arriving in Vietnam for the first time I quickly learned that Taxi Vinasun were a great taxi company with its modern fleet, so Vinasun became my taxi company of choice when in Ho Chi Minh City. All Vinasun taxi are air-conditioned, clean and most of their fleet are 7 seaters so you have to worry about space or room for your luggage. Vinasun also operate in other cities.
Mai Linh Saigon Taxi – Started around 15 years ago Mai Linh Saigon Taxi was Vietnam’s first privately owned Taxi Company and is now one of the country’s largest, their fleet is very modern, well maintained and clean. It’s important to point out that Mai Linh operate throughout Vietnam and they also operate a very popular express bus services to other centres (including Cambodia) Mai Linh operates both 4 seater and 7 seater cabs along with a deluxe/luxury brand company
ComfortSavico – A joint venture between Singaporean based giant ComfortDelGro Corporation Limited and former state-owned enterprise Saigon General Service Corporation (Savico) the partnership forms Comfort Savico. I have been presently surprised each time I have been in one of their cabs.
VinaTaxi – VinaTaxi is another Joint-Venture Company involving ComfortDelgro Corporation Limited but this time with TRACODI (under Ministry of Transport, Vietnam) In general I have found their fleet to be a little older than both Vinasun and Mai Linh however it is well maintained their rates are cheaper than both Vinasun and Mai Linh, and they have very good drivers. Their Taxis are very recognisable as they are all bright Yellow
Taxi SaigonTourist is operated by the same company that runs the main SaigonTourist travel company and has been in operation for around 10 years. Their taxis can be recognised by a sliver car with a red stripe along the centre of the car, note there are still many cars from SaigonTourist with their old livery white car with red along the bottom of the car. SaigonTourist operates both 4 seater and 7 seater taxis
Saigon’s Fake and Copy Taxi Companies
I have personally heard numerous reports of tourists getting ripped and charged extraordinary sums by fake or not so honest taxi drivers. Some fake taxis or unscrupulous drives don’t to turn on the meter and demand a large sum for your 10 minute taxi fare, where others such as the fake taxis will have bodgie meters that charge more than a western taxi. For instance I recently heard of a fare from Tan Son Nhat International Airport into district 1 costing close on VND 1,000,000 which a bit under AUD/US $50 (at current exchange rates) a legit taxi company from TSN to District 1 fare should cost no more than VNĐ 315,000 (AUD/USD $15)
Note: In my experience most fake taxis are a dead giveaway, dirty, not very well maintained, and cheap brand small cars, whereas the real deal are the exact opposite clean, modern and a larger vehicle.
Some of the fake or copy taxi companies I have come across over the years usually try to either copy the logo and/or name or have a similar phone number to their legitimate counterparts, two of the most common fakes I have seen over the years include:
Taxi Vinamet – A copy of the Vinasun name with a logo and phone number that is near identical (the Vinasun phone number is 38 27 27 27 whereas the fakes have similar numbers with 27)
Metertaxi – This company has a logo that is very similar to the Mai Linh Logo however that is far as the resemblance goes, these taxis are small, cheap and dirty a dead giveaway, however if you are desperate for a cab on a dark night you might just be tempted, my advice stay well clear.
Tips for catching taxis in Vietnam or any Asian country:
- Ask your hotel for a recommended taxi company and have them call a taxi for you
- Book your Taxi over the phone so that there is some record of the trip
- Write down or take note of both the taxi number and driver ID number
- Don’t get into a taxi if the driver does not have ID on display
- Ensure the taxi has a rate hire card and take note of the rates
- Before leaving the taxi thoroughly check to make sure you have not left anything, if you leave anything behind consider it gone
- Last but not least always ensure the driver uses the meter
Phone numbers for all recommended Ho Chi Minh City Taxi Companies are as follows:
|Taxi Vinasun||Ph 38 27 27 27|
|Mai Linh Taxis||Ph 38 38 38 38|
|ComfortSavico||Ph 38 21 21 21|
|VinaTaxi||Ph 38 111 111|
|Taxi SaigonTourist||Ph 38 45 88 88|